• Art & Artifact Handling: Basic Training Guidelines

    Held on Friday, November 14, 2008 at the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

    This is a summary of the one-day Art Handling Workshop that PACIN co-sponsored on Friday November 14th at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

    The workshop was co-sponsored and organized by RC-WR (Registrar’s Committee Western Region), CAM (Californian Association of Museums), CERA (California Exhibition Resources Alliance) and PACIN. Sharing the organization of the Workshop made for an efficient, cost effective and well promoted event. In total 131 delegates attended. In initial planning we were expecting 50-75 delegates.

    Having all four organizations involved in planning and implementation will enable future workshops on this and other subjects and will enable a more broad outreach by efficiently pooling both resources and networks.

    Speakers and the topics they presented were:

    Jacqueline Cabrera, Chair - Registrar Committee Western Region & Associate Registrar for the Getty Villa was the moderator for the workshop. She also spoke about "Emergency Plans & Damage Procedures" which covered the basics of policies and procedures which need to be in place prior to a possible disaster. In the disaster situation one has to be prepared for the actual disaster, the assessment once the disaster occurs and the recovery process for both large and small types of disaster scenarios.

    Brent Powell, Chair - PACIN & Head of Preparation, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco introduced the workshop with an "Overview of the Profession" which looked at how institutions have evolved with hiring and training of specialized staff to ensure proper care of their collections. In the afternoon Brent spoke about "Job Descriptions, Training, and Collection Manuals". This presentation dealt with the elements of writing job descriptions and hiring of preparation staff; training and educational opportunities; and the basics of how to create a collection handling manual.

    Joe Fronek, Paintings Conservator, L.A.C.M.A. Conservation Center presented "Paintings Overview". Joe presented a thorough basic explanation of different painting materials; their application; and various types of structural support commonly for paintings. He presented examples of x-rays of painted surfaces so we could see some damaged areas before they were restored. Joe followed this with presentation of the basic principles of proper handling techniques to mitigate the risk of damage of handling, transport and storage.

    Kevin Marshall, Lead Preparator for the Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum presented an overview titled “3D objects" (sculpture, metals, glass etc.) In his presentation Kevin covered the basics of handling object most commonly found within a collection. A strong focus was placed on the antiquities from the Getty Villa collection with many examples of handling large oversized objects.

    Chail Norton, Assistant Conservator, L.A.C.M.A. Conservation Center presented an overview on "Works on Paper", covering the correct handling and how to protect WOP from UV deterioration. Chail showed many images of handling techniques and the specific effects of miss-handling and storage. This presentation included short videos of the techniques of proper handling and movement of a WOP from one point to another.

    Robert Hollister, Director of Collections and Registration, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles spoke on the topic of "Loan Conditions & Loan Agreements" and the issues related to safe handling when artworks are outside your general control. This was a step by step explanation of the loan agreement specifics which require that proper procedures and polices are followed to ensure proper handling and care when your object is in the shipper’s and the borrower’s care.

    Angela McGrew, Associate Conservator, Autry National Center, Los Angeles presented an overview of "Ethnographic Objects". Angela focused on the basic and common sense approach to making effective storage housings and handling devices for diverse objects found within an ethnographic collection. Angela gave actual demonstrations of how to make simple tissue supports; how to roll a textile properly; and also supplied the delegates with samples of bean bags and other quality storage materials.

    Breakfast and lunch were generously sponsored by Cooke's Crating & Fine Art Transportation Inc., Los Angeles.

    Based on general feedback and a follow up survey by CAM, this workshop was well received by everyone who attended. You can find more information and images from this workshop on the PACIN Website, just follow the links.

    Click here to view speaker’s handouts and presentations.

    We are planning on having this workshop presented at other venues across the US, taking it on the road so to speak. Venues and audiences will change and the workshop will continue to evolve with different speakers adding their experiences.

    Brent Powell, PACIN Chair

    Speakers and Topics:

    Workshop Introduction

    Jacqueline Cabrera

    Chair, Registrar Committee – Western Region

    Associate Registrar for the Getty Villa

    J. Paul Getty Museum

    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1000v

    Los Angeles, CA 90049

    T: 310-440-7225

    Overview of the Profession

    Brent Powell

    Chair, PACIN

    Head of Preparation

    Asian Art Museum

    200 Larkin Street

    San Francisco, CA 94102


    Paintings Overview

    Joe Fronek

    Conservator, Paintings

    L.A.C.M.A. Conservation Center

    5905 Wilshire Blvd.

    Los Angeles, CA 90036

    T: 323 857-6000

    3D objects (sculpture, metals, glass etc.)

    Kevin Marshall

    Lead Preparator for the Getty Villa

    J.Paul Getty Museum

    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1000v

    Los Angeles, CA 90049

    T: 310-440-7058

    Works on Paper

    Chail Norton

    Assistant Conservator, Paper

    L.A.C.M.A. Conservation Center

    5905 Wilshire Blvd.

    Los Angeles, CA 90036

    T: 323-857-6167

    Loan Conditions

    Robert Hollister

    Director of Collections and Registration

    The Museum of Contemporary Art

    250 South Grand Avenue

    Los Angeles, CA 90012

    T: 213-621-1704

    Ethnographic Objects

    Angela McGrew

    Associate Conservator

    Southwest Museum &

    Autry National Center

    234 Museum Drive

    Los Angeles, CA 90065

    T: 323-221-2164 x250

    Job Descriptions, Training, and Collection Manuals

    by Brent Powell

    Emergency Plans, Damage Procedures and Closing Remarks

    by Jacqueline Cabrera